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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.


In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more

Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

July 2, 2015 Water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across U.S., study shows

Water World - îWater Environment Federationî named as 2015 Top Workplace The îWater Environment Federationî recently announced that The Washington Post has named the organization as one of the top places...

July 2, 2015 Steering Toward Sustainability: How California’s New Groundwater Law Can Help Us From Driving Off a Cliff

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

According to new research by NASA, many of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted at a much faster rate than they can be replenished, and California’s Central Valley is among the worst. As we all know, California is in...

July 2, 2015 California Just Cut Its Water Use In A Major Way

Source: Huff Post

This May, the last month in which water conservation was voluntary, urban water users consumed 28.9 percent less water than in May 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board announced Wednesday. This surpasses the 25 percent...

July 1, 2015 Flood waters present a variety of health risks

Daily Record - Illinois îDepartmentî of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., is urging residents in and around flooded areas to take precautions to help prevent îdiseaseî and stay ......

June 29, 2015 New round of big state water cuts to hit San Francisco

Source: SF Gate

State water officials not only told more Central Valley farmers Friday that they need to stop drawing water from low-flowing rivers and creeks — but they tossed the city of San Francisco onto the list as well.

June 26, 2015 Water Shortage: 40 Percent of Water Depletion by 2030, Warns UN Report

Microfinance Monitor - Water shortage is going to be severe as there will be 40 percent depletion of fresh water resources on Earth by 2030 unless urgent corrective measures are undertaken, warns the UN World Water Development...

June 25, 2015 California Is Running On Empty

Source: NewsWeek

A 40 million person California is an iffy place. It is entirely dependent on a sophisticated, man-created infrastructure of dams, reservoirs, canals, pumps, freeways, rail lines, airports and schools and universities.

June 24, 2015 Bottled Water Company Issues Recall Over Possible E. Coli Contamination

Source: Time

A bottled water company has issued a voluntary recall over fears of E. coli contamination. After traces of E. coli bacteria were found at one of the spring sources for Niagara Bottling LLC, the company has issued a voluntary...

June 24, 2015 Judge blocks federal fracking rule

Source: The Hill

A federal judge in Wyoming has temporarily blocked implementation of the Obama administration’s regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, hours before they were set to take effect.

June 24, 2015 Lake Mead sinks to record low, risking 2016 water shortage

Source: USA Today

Lake Mead sunk to a record low Tuesday night by falling below the point that would trigger a water-supply shortage if the reservoir doesn't recover by January.

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